Chaumont International Garden Festival v. RHS flower shows

“Have issue.  You were so adamant that you wouldn’t go to Chelsea again.  Discuss, please”. This text came through the day I was at this year’s Flower Show and looked like a   an essay question. The best way to answer it  is probably to   compare  Chelsea Flower Show  with the Chaumont sur Loire…

We are lectured by Tom Stuart Smith

Early in the month Tom Stuart Smith gave a lecture at Great Braxted in Essex and we gardening types were lured from our potting sheds. There was the usual charitable angle with the National Garden Scheme and Horatio’s Garden vying either for or funds or our attention in the most charming way. I had no…

Behind Walls at the Charterhouse

I was looking for a place called the Charterhouse. Getting in, even finding it made me feel like a Minpin trying to crack a walnut. Lurking behind a big brick wall in the Clerkenwall Road – the one door in was firmly locked. How was I to arrive? Wasted time pacing up and down in…

Review of “Essay on Gardening” by Henk Gerritsen

  Hefting in at one and a half kilos , “Essay on Gardening” simply cannot be that.  (OED “A short piece of writing on a particular subject”).  I suspect a Gerritsen tease.  For the gardener who wants to be enlightened and provoked in equal measures, treat this book as your bible.  I have read it…

Umbellifered out and spoilt at Gravetye Manor

The day before yesterday we were umbellifered out and spoilt to bits  all in one sitting, so to speak.  A birthday celebration took 3 of us to Gravetye Manor in  north Sussex, near East Grinstead.   It is not a  bit of the map that you might pick on  and say “I must go there”  hard…

Hats off to Chelsea

A whole week has evaporated since the  Chelsea Flower Show visit.  I’ve examined my pics and scribbled notes and here they are.  A little old hat by now.  I swear this lady wears this hat every year.  Definitely photographed her before. The sleuthing visit of one day gives a sort of hysterical edge to fitting…

Dig your soil? Or then again, do not

Earlier this year I went to the Garden Press Event buried in the depths of the  Barbican.  Humming and hawing over whether to go, it seemed a long jump from home.    Wrong wrong wrong.  On arrival, a bright pink cupcake got pressed into my hand and spluttering, I fell into the hands of the…

The Best Walled Garden in the World is in Suffolk

This  year walled garden curiosity has quietly gripped me.  It started on the Isle of Mull in a squall, taking refuge behind the mossy stone of a 4 acre walled garden.  The kind climate of the Gulf Stream had allowed the rarest of shrubs and trees to flourish.  Back in Suffolk, a walk  through sandy…

A Trip to East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens

These gardens have become a bit of a pilgrimage site.  Particularly for those of us who live in the East.  There simply are not many substantial gardens in these parts.  Not the first time I have visited, but a week or two back, I treated myself and two others to the  Full Monty Alan Grey…

The gardens at Quai Branly, Paris by Gilles Clement

Sitting pretty by the Seine, in the 7th arrondissement,  with terraces of Haussmann-order breathing down on the south side,  there was a bit of a brouhaha over this plot of land. It’s nearest metro stop, Alma-Marceau  is also the right one if you want to visit the Paris sewers and the Eiffel Tower which sticks…